Bettor Twist stuns in breath-taking 2YO Diamond
By Jonny Turner
Stunning, sensational, superb, simply amazing.
Superlatives are the only ways to possibly sum up Bettor Twist’s emphatic win in the Dunstan Horsefeeds 3YO Diamond which must rate as one of the greatest performances in Harness Jewels history.
Never closer than three-wide until her rivals with more economical trips started tiring, the Hayden Cullen trained filly produced a showing of greatness that puts her alongside New Zealand’s best ever three-year-old fillies.
Like thousands watching on, Cullen is a harness racing fan who has been keen on the sport from a young age.
He admitted after taking in Bettor Twist’s stunning Group One winning display that he had never seen anything like it.
“No, I don’t think I have,” the trainer said.
“She is a very special filly and that was an amazing effort, she had a very tough run but she really showed her class.”
Cullen’s first Harness Jewels crown since taking over Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s stable of stars would have made him happy enough.
But to do it in his home town made an already extraordinary win even more special.
“This is my hometown, so to do it here is very special,” Cullen said.
Bettor Twist was made to call on all of her champion qualities and her incredible will to win after drawing the outside of the front row.
While she and driver Natalie Rasmussen certainly had few favours in the running, Cullen thought the pair finding early cover proved crucial.
“I think getting that cover three-wide early was a big help.”
“Because the others were burning and then Natalie was able to put her in the race and make it a real staying race.”
“Once that happened she was always going to be hard to beat.”
Bettor Twist’s rivals had few excuses after enjoying much more economical runs than her.
Life’s A Beach was excellent in second, storming out of the pack to get within three-quarters of a length of the winner in a career highlight for both trainer Tony Barron and driver John Morrison.
Off N Gone rallied well along the passing lane to hold second ahead of La Rosa, who had her chance when leading up.
Driver Samantha Ottley did everything she could behind the Mark Jones trained filly, setting a strong tempo that made Bettor Twist work hard for her epic win.
Ultimately it only made the Cullen trained filly’s victory even more impressive.
Despite being three and four wide for much of the race the three-year-old still managed to pace a scintillating 1.52.5 mile (1609m) on a rain-affected Cambridge track.